14 Jun 2018

Were Grateful

Foreign Policy, Scott Adams, Trump 9 Comments

Michael Malice has moved his podcast “YOUR [sic] WELCOME” to the Gas Digital Network, and Episode #3 is what podcasts were designed for: It takes the libertarian (for purists, anarcho-capitalist) expert on North Korea (Malice) and puts him into a conversation with the comic strip expert on Donald Trump (Scott Adams).

I am being dead serious, this is the single most insightful analysis I’ve heard of the Korea summit. Early on Malice says something like, “Trump gave Kim permission to do the right thing, by being paternal without being paternalistic.” I was noticing the same thing. The way Trump praises Kim (who looks like a young boy trying not to show he’s afraid to the cameras), when everybody else is literally screaming bloody murder, was giving me that vibe too, but Malice articulated it better than I had done.

Even if you hate Trump’s guts, you should listen to this interview. I’m not saying they have the whole story, but this is definitely an important aspect of the story, and moreover one that just about everybody else is totally missing.

9 Responses to “Were Grateful”

  1. Andrew says:

    I’ve been really loving the “YOUR WELCOME” show since it moved to Gas Digital. I just finished listening to that episode this morning. That one was especially cool because I was following both Malice and Adams pretty closely prior to listening to this.

    And I agree that these 2 probably have the most interesting perspectives on North Korea that I have heard.

    • Andrew says:

      Oh, I forgot to mention that your post title is perfect Bob.

  2. Harold says:

    I will listen to this (probably) but don’t have time right now. My take (before hearing this) is that nobody but Trump could have done what he has done. If, say, Obama (or Clinton, or even a Republican president) had done the same thing he would have been so derided by the right wing press he would probably never have recovered. Granting a summit without concessions from NK, withdrawing US from military exercises etc. Trump has conceded a huge amount of ground from the previous US position but avoids criticism. There is no doubt that Kim has won big. That does not mean that Trump everyone else cannot have won as well, it could be a win-win. I thought the Syria position was similar, The Dems were so bought into a get-rid-of-Assad position they could never have backed away from it even if this is obviously now impossible. I thought Trump could bow to realism and promote putting Assad back, in a way Clinton could never have done. He has not really done that with Syria, but he has done something similar with Korea. It is obviously better to be talking than to be firing nukes.

    • Andrew says:

      I don’t get the perception that “Kim has won big” or that “Trump has conceded a huge amount of ground.” It looks like both sides have made token concessions that could easily be reversed at this point. From my perspective, it looks like both sides are engaged in a feeling-out process to determine if they can actually trust and work with one another. I still think it is a big deal because starting the process is necessary and difficult. I just don’t think that anything is “huge” in terms of formal or informal concessions that either side has made so far. What is huge is that the US, North and South Korea have begun working together towards peaceful denuclearization and potential reunification.

      It will be interesting to hear if your opinion changes at all after listening to the episode.

      • Harold says:

        Trump has conceded what no other president has done and were pretty much red lines after N Korea reneged on previous agreements. No talks without verifiable commitments, no reduction in US presence. It may be that these red lines were inappropriate, or were out of date, but they were there. Kim has actually conceded nothing, except to re-iterate an old commitment to denuclearisation, without defining what that means. For Kim, being involved in this process and being treated as a world leader that the president of the USA is prepared to travel to meet is a win, even of nothing else comes of this. The N Koreans have been trying to get a one-to-one for years. If Obama had offered to meet Kim he would have jumped at the chance, but it was never on the table from the USA. Whether this is “huge” or not is of course debatable but they are very significant in the N Korean context.

        • Andrew says:

          Man Harold, you’re rough.

          Kim released hostages, destroyed a testing facility, stopped holding missile tests, committed to returning the remains of fallen soldiers, and expressed the intent for complete denuclearization. That’s not nothing. It isn’t huge, but it isn’t nothing either.

          And I still don’t get the “treated as a world leader” argument that Trump critics are so worried about. If he follows through and denuclearizes North Korea, then that will improve his reputation. Conversely, if he reneges on denuclearization, then everyone will got back to, “Damn, I guess he’s just as untrustworthy as his dad and grandfather.” The meeting is certainly significant, but what happens next will determine whether Kim Jong Un is “treated as a world leader” or just another dictator of the hermit kingdom. And figuring out which category he belongs in is worth the risk of temporarily inflating his ego, in my opinion.

          • Harold says:

            Fair point, not nothing.

            Had a listen to the podcast.

            Like Tel I did not understand the UK Royal Family reference. That was possibly the weakest part, they did not offer a way out for Kim without ending up like Gaddafi. There is no good parallel with the Royal family. Power has been very, very slowly transfering since at least the Magna Carter and one got the chop. Also the jail thing was not a joke.

            I don’t think there was anything there that radically changes my opinion. Underlining some of my other comments, Adams says that the video shows Kim and Trump as co-equal. Kim did get that recognition. That is not necessarily bad but it does no good to deny it. Trump was able to make these concessions in order to get talks going, and probably no other president could have done so. What remains to be seen if the talks actually get anywhere, as so far there is not very much to show.

            One example of why I think Adams has lost it is at 52:53. He says “Does she know it is clearly biased and looks that way to everyone. I always caution people to avoid mind reading” That is a contradiction literally in consecutive sentences. (It also appeared at 7:30 for some reason.) It is a symptom of his failure to observe his own cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.

            He also does not appear to know what a fact is. As support for his idea that facts are not enough he says that someone puts forward the fact that Canada treats the USA unfairly in trade. That is not a fact and therefore his illustration utterly fails to demonstrate his point. He says that 95% of disagreements he has on social media are about other people misunderstanding his point. Having seen his defence of the Dilbert column where a “climate scientist” appears, He ignored the fact that he has the scientist say “we put the data into dozens of models and ignore the ones that look wrong to us”. He fails to see this as an attack on climate scientists and claims the point was only about economic models. (That example was a fact). In his latest podcast (or periscope) he claims N Korea now has everything it wants and no longer has a reason for possessing needs nuclear weapons, even whilst he says the USA has not committed to anything and can back out at any moment.. This is fairly clearly absurd. Whilst Kim did want recognition from the Pres. of the US this is not everything he wants.

            • Andrew says:

              Cool, thanks for posting your reactions.

  3. Tel says:

    With regard to Trump mentioning Hillary going to jail, that was no joke.

    I would estimate that at least 10% of Trump supporters and perhaps 5% of people who really don’t like Trump at all would strongly support Hillary getting prosecuted for mishandling classified material (and prosecution should be a slam dunk, based on the available evidence).

    Some of the other examples are strange: Libya under Gaddafi was a lot better for the people than Libya after Gaddafi was gone so I don’t get what they are doing trying to compare Libya to North Korea. Adams’ other example was about the UK royal family but Charles I of England was beheaded so I’m not quite sure why that’s a good example.

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